Thursday, March 14, 2019

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Author: Sayaka Murata
Original title: Agnes Grey
Pages: 164
Edition Language: English
Series: no
Format: paperback
Genres: Contemporary

   Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her.

My thoughts: 
    It is a very short novel and I have heard so many positive things about it, so I was actually hunting for it in the stores. But in the end, I was left disappointed and confused by the book.
        The novel is about a character who doesn’t change in a society that doesn’t change, and how both have found comfort in conformity. It’s never explicitly stated, but Keiko is obviously autistic. She comes off as robotic and unemotional. She has no interest in sex or relationships in general. She works, thinks and lives mechanically. She even has her sister come up with lines for her to repeat in social situations to seem like a “normal” person. So, since she knows her place in the world and she’s satisfied with it why everyone keeps pushing her to something else? She starts and ends as a convenience store worker. So why everybody is making a problem out of it?
      Additionally, the switches between somehow simplistic and almost philosophical way of thinking left a confused impression. Maybe the message of the novel is more relevant to closed Japanese society, but I was not impressed. 
       Still, it is generally a well-written book that is easy to read. Besides, for a novel mostly set in an ordinary convenience store it was never boring. So Sayaka Murata really managed it well. 


  1. I’ve thought about picking this one up because it’s getting buzz, but I’m not sure if it’s a “me” book. It’s good to see a critical review of it. I most likely won’t read it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I had high expectations, unfortunately it was not the best read.

  2. Sorry this one wasn't better. If nothing ever changes with the characters in a story, I always wonder what the point was in writing it.

    1. That's true. At least the environment should change, or what's the point.

  3. ah! I have not read it yet, but most of my co-readers on the shadow panel for the Man Booker International thought it should have been on the long list! So now I'm even more intrigued by this book

    1. It is really short and it is always better to see for yourself! I do not discourage to read it, it is just me, who was not quite satisfied with it.